Economic Modernization in Russia’s Neo-Patrimonial System

Since Vladimir Putin’s inauguration in 2000, Russia underwent a political shift towards authoritarianism as well as several economic reforms aimed at overcoming the country’s technological backwardness and dependence on raw material exports. These processes were meant to allow Russia to regain its place among the leading industrial nations. The projects and reforms under the banner of “modernization” initiated during the presidency of Dmitri Medvedev were, however, unable to achieve the goals set by the government. Today, we can observe a decisive departure from the idea of economic modernization. Instead, Russia has come to increasingly see itself as a military power once again.

This project investigates two central issues. First, it analyzes the Russian government’s understanding of “modernization” and the ways in which this conception has been transformed in the context of domestic and foreign policy changes. Second, it seeks to explain the reasons why the reforms did not lead to the desired results, particularly during Medvedev’s presidency. This project applies analytical instruments from the area of political economy to approach these issues.